Ark. woman's lawsuit against Diocese to continue

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A Pulaski County Circuit Court judge has declined to dismiss a Fayetteville woman's lawsuit against the Diocese of Little Rock that alleges a Catholic priest manipulated her into a sexual relationship.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/FSufLk) reported in Saturday's editions that Judge Wendell Griffen ruled there was no merit to claims by the diocese and Bishop Anthony Taylor that Shannon Oates' lawsuit violates the religious protections guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Oates alleges she and Charles Kanu had a relationship and that church officials knew of should have known about it. The church argues that any injuries Oates suffered were partially brought on by her own actions and that Kanu should be a defendant in the lawsuit.

A voice mailbox for Taylor wouldn't accept messages on Saturday.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.